NJAMHAA, Fellow Advocates Illustrate Why New Jerseyans Cannot Wait any Longer for Life Saving Care, Need for Significantly More Investment in the FY2025 State Budget

April 19, 2024

On April 18, 2024, Debra L. Wentz, PhD, President and CEO of NJAMHAA, and leaders of other statewide advocacy organizations held a press conference, New Jerseyans Cannot Wait Any Longer for Life Saving Care, and highlighted compelling examples of the negative impact of long waits for services — many of which are due to the behavioral healthcare and social services workforce crisis — and equally powerful illustrations of the positive impact of these services. The advocates implore the State Legislature to ensure that the FY2025 State Budget includes significantly greater investment in these services that are primarily needed by the disenfranchised and marginalized community.

Demand for services continues to increase as the workforce is declining. “While the worst of the pandemic is over, the mental health impacts not only remain, but continue to grow,” Dr. Wentz stated, referring to increases in not only rates of depression and anxiety, but also in acuity of these mental health conditions.

Dr. Wentz noted that NJAMHAA’s campaign, Diverse Faces: All Are Worthy of Full Investment, features several examples of the numerous successes that individuals have achieved as a result of the behavioral healthcare and social services they received. Such individual victories also translate into benefits for the state overall. “By making prevention, treatment and recovery supports available to all New Jersey residents, the state would benefit from the prevention of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, homelessness and individuals’ involvement in the criminal justice system,” Dr. Wentz explained.

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